The Land Of The Elephants

I was reading somewhere that one should align oneself with the wisdom of nature! So getting as close to nature as I can …I lie flat on my back on the spongy green lawn staring up at the pale blue sky decorated with thousands of wispy vapour trails. A bumble bee whirs slowly past droning close to my ear. I close my eyes ignoring the bumble bee imagining instead the indigo hues deepening through the African bush as daylight wanes. My mind marches along to Africa’s timeless rhythms wondering what has gone wrong in this intricate web that we call life. Squinting up at the diaphanous vapour trails, I speculate on the fact that once man has ruined this planet, that maybe with all this modern technology and transport, thinks we have another planet to go to?


I stop my mind from marching and pull my thoughts close. I need to think about something that makes me feel better. I sit bolt upright. No…the goal is not about feeling better. It is about getting better at feeling. It is about compassion and justice. These are two words that many world wide seem to lack in.

Why is it that a continent blessed with riches and natural resources has blood flowing into the rivers? Corruption and greed: my mind feeds on this information, chewing quickly and swallowing. This I already know, and it gives me indigestion.


How is that the ‘dentine body parts’ from these magnificent and sentient creatures ends up in countries far from where they belong. I feel myself choking with emotion and a stomach churning weightlessness. My dad died in a country far away from where he was born due to political upheaval and a touch of corruption. I remember how I could see beyond the cheerful exterior… sadness had a firm hand on his shoulder, but with a bright smile he would always maintain that he was one of the lucky ones. I always worried about dad’s ashes as I know deep down that they do not belong here in this country. (His ashes are buried in a huge pot and I have planted a tree.) They belong back on Ferndale farm Umtali/Mutare in Zimbabwe where he was born, and although he did not farm the farm, he loved it and all those that lived there with his whole being.

Tusks from these sentient creatures also do not belong on somebody’s table or mantle piece thousands of miles from where they come from. They belong in the land of their birth….and on the land. (I know I am an idealist).

I watch a plane whizzing past and I imagine that there could be contraband in the hold. Do the people who create the demand have any idea of the bloodshed this demand is creating? (infographic for Rory Young and Chengeta Wildlife).

A huge thank you to Joe Chernov, Robin Richards and Leslie Bradshaw for creating the infographic for Rory Young and Chengeta Wildlife.

Ivory carving has a history of 5 000 years according to archaeological studies. These carvers are desperate to keep the art of carving alive, claiming that they have tried to combine wood and ivory, ox and camel bones but nothing can compete with ivory. Yes, the carvers work is intricate but it lacks the life and luminescence that one gets from ivory where it rightly belongs: on an elephant. How can they hope to achieve something beautiful from something that is so symbolic of suffering and death. I do not believe they can.

Coming from Zimbabwe, I do not believe that anything can be more beautiful or real that sitting quietly watching the fire of dawn bursting over the horizon and lighting the way for a herd of elephants. One cannot describe the elation of being in an open air amphitheater where fingers of sunshine caress your cheeks and the sweet smell of buffalo dung fills your nostrils. DEAD IVORY does nothing except symbolize ‘death’. Southern Africa is where the big five roam. This is where elephants amble past with the lightness and grace of dancers. This is a wild paradise with limitless skies and a rugged beauty. This is where survival of the fittest should be the rule of law..but greed and corruption are ruining this natural world where the land pulsates with a subliminal rumble that one feels rather than hears. This natural world is being desecrated and the demand for ivory, rhino horn and other animal parts is out of control.

China, please do not allow the demand for ivory to wipe out an entire species. The only enemy our African bush and her wildlife riches has to fear is man..the biggest and most lethal predator. I continue to lie flat on my back staring up at the sky. Where do we go from here? I roll over onto my stomach and flicking open my folder, I continue to read ‘The Field Manual for Anti Poaching Activities’..written by Rory Young and Yakov Alexseyev I take a deep sigh feeling my heart hammering a little faster. Yes there is hope out there. We just need to get this manual out to every anti-poaching ranger.

This book is an absolute must for those who do anti-poaching work. It is an intriguing read for the lay person who wants to understand how skilled professionals deal with dangerous criminals in the bush.


rory young twitt


We also need Governments to take responsibility before it is too late. I am sharing a link to this must see interview with Rory Young from Chengeta Wildlife. Rory is on the ground and gives a clear overview of the current catastrophic levels of poaching. A passionate plea for action rather than words. Rory, thank you.

China, please put a stop to the demand for ivory. Do not let this become The last Call of The Elephant’. (My poem)

6 thoughts on “The Land Of The Elephants

  1. The infographic is brilliant and Rory’s field manual an excellent training aid for rangers.

  2. Thank you for this, it is exactly what so many of us feel. Why can’t our beautiful animals live in peace without continual fear of so called “humans”. It breaks my heart repeatedly.

  3. Absolutely fantastic writing! What isnt fantastic and just plain frightening is the figures and the reality of what humans are doing to our beautiful world!!!!…yes there is hope…and as long as we have Rory Youngs and Jenny Lukes in this world and a population to reach out to…there will be hope – thankyou!! Keep going people are listening!

  4. Thankyou Jenny, your writing is amazing i really enjoyed reading this. I totally related to you lay there thinking about our beautiful planet and what we can do to help. IM so very grateful to read your blogs and connect with caring people because it gives me hope. God bless Rory and all the people everywhere who are doing something to help.

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